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Article:Oklahoma State Football Preview 2008

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Oklahoma State Football Preview, 2008 These are my thoughts on the Oklahoma State Football Team and their upcoming season. I will start with position previews and do coaching and offense. Then I will cover special teams and defense in the next post, followed by another post with my predictions of their success or lack thereof as well as a game by game scenario. Coaching - Oklahoma State has had one of the most prolific offenses the past two seasons but suffered the loss of Offensive Coordinator Larry Fedora who took the Head Coaching Job at Southern Miss. Fedora was an offensive genius however in game choices were often questioned as he appeared to get a little too cute in certain situations. Mike Gundy handled the play calling in the Insight Bowl after the departure of Fedora and did a fantastic job in the Victory vs. Indiana. By all accounts, he will resume those duties this season despite hiring co-coordinators in the offseason. Recruiter extraordinaire Trooper Taylor was hired away from Tennessee as co-offensive coordinator along with Gunter Brewer who was promoted from within. Play calling should remain consistent with a few minor changes in style. I believe the loss of Fedora will not affect this squad. Tim Beckman is in his second year as the defensive coordinator, coming from Ohio State where he coached the secondary. Oklahoma State's defense has been horrendous, and that includes the secondary which has a new coach the addition of Jason Jones who came over from Tulsa. Jones did a good job with the talent he had there and all indications are that the secondary is vastly improved. The biggest coaching change is the replacement of Nelson Barnes who by all accounts was simply not a very good coach. He refused to teach ANY technique and comments from NFL scouts and former Cowboys in the NFL such as Vikings Star Kevin Williams have corroborated such opinion. His replacement is Glenn Spencer who was previously with Duke. Improvement in this area is evident. Whether it is coaching or talent and the extent of improvement has yet to be seen. This is a young coaching staff and they are still going through some growing pains however the "issues" no longer exist between coaches. They're going to have to do a better job this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Offense - Oklahoma State returns four starters from last year's offensive line including all conference shoe in Russell Okung. Juco All-American tackle Andrew Mitchell will likely round out the extremely deep starting 5. David Washington has gained his spot back at center after suffering a season ending injury. His return moved starting Center Andrew Lewis over to Left Guard. Lewis was big time last year at center after Washington went down and can move back in a moment if needed. CFN ranks Oklahoma State's Offensive Line No. 2 in the country: OSU At TE SuperStar Brandon Pettigrew returns. Mel Kiper Junior has Pettigrew as the number 1 TE on his draft board and many consider him one of the four best tight ends in the country. He has great size at 6-6 260 and soft hands. He's a great route runner, and a solid blocker, and is very hard to bring down after the catch. Depth at the position is an issue with little game experience returning at the position. Wide Receiver is an interesting position for the Cowboys who suffered a big loss in Receiver Adarius Bowman to graduation. Returning is budding Star Dez Bryant, an all conference wr contender. Bo Bowling, a walk on transfer has blown just about everyone away with his abilities over the spring and summer and has earned a starting spot. Artrell Woods who you might remember suffered a severe spinal cord injury and was actually temporarily paralyzed and underwent immediate surgery last year after suffering a freak weightlifting accident has returned, albeit without his sub 4.4 speed and will see time at the position with a wealth of other capable players including sophomore Damien Davis. William Cole is out for the year with a knee injury he suffered in fall practice. How good these guys will be as a unit is a question because someone will have to step up and be a threat opposite Pettigrew and Bryant. Running Back - It's not easy to replace a guy like Dantrell Savage who actually went undrafted but is having a phenomenal preseason with the Chiefs and will likely make the team despite KC's depth at Running back which includes Larry Johnson and Jamaal Charles. To the rescue is super sophomore Kendall Hunter who led the Big 12 in yards per carry with 6.5 YPC on on 107 carries. Sharing the role will be Keith Toston who is coming off a serious knee injury. Toston had trouble holding onto the football last year. He's a really talented back, but if he cannot keep from putting the ball on the turf early on, he will find himself sitting in favor of a freshman running back. Depth is not an issue here however experience is something of a concern in my opinion. Quarterback - ZMFR (Zac Mother F'n Robinson as he is now known in osu circles), really hasn't garnered the national attention I thought he would and I believe he deserves. Only 3 players rushed for 800 yards last year and threw for 2800. One of those players was Zac Robinson. Only one player rushed and threw for more. That player won the Heisman Trophy. He also completed over 60% of his passes. Not bad for a guy who started the season as the backup and didn't have a full season under his belt at quarterback. As far as a backup quarterback goes, there is a pretty close battle between ideal prototype NFL quarterback and 2nd year player Brandon Weeden, who came to OSU via professional baseball and sophomore Alex Cate. Cate is leading the battle right now because he knows the offense better and is more consistent but Weeden will likely eventually win the backup job over the undersized Cate. Neither player the caliber of Zac Robinson and if Robinson gets injured it will surely be a very long season for OSU. This was a little rushed because I've been really busy so I apologize for that. Defense and Special Teams to come when I get time.

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